Born in Edmonton in 1959, Ron Huebner moved to Chilliwack with his family in the early ’70s, and quickly made a name for himself in the province after completing, in Halifax and New York, the formal education in arts he began in Victoria.
With a unique vision of the world around him, Huebner used various media and sound to create engaging 3D art installations that earned him worldwide praise and recognition. However, Huebner’s career was cut short in 2004 when he suddenly passed away in an accident.
But thanks to the Ron Huebner Legacy Collection and Archives, his works live on. And now they’ve come to Chilliwack.
On Sept. 20, the O’Connor Group Art Gallery inside the Chilliwack Cultural Centre welcomed Enduring Spirit, an exhibition of a cross-section of Huebner’s sculptural works, which will be on display until Oct. 27, and is free for all to view.
More than 30 years ago, Huebner had his first solo show in Vancouver that ignited a decades-long appreciation of sensory sculptures, which he exhibited across Canada, as well as in the Netherlands, Germany, France, Sweden, and Belgium.
Huebner’s work was professionally recognized and supported throughout his career, receiving numerous professional arts grants, awards and stipends from recognized cultural entities such as the Canada Council for the Arts, BC Arts Council, Pilchuck and the Netherlands Basis. In 2002, he received the prestigious Canada Council Paris Studio Award at Cite International Des Arts.
Huebner was passionately engaged in the creation of a distinctive body of conceptually-based work grounded in a focused and personalized vision of the human experience. The work endures and is as compelling today as when it was created in it’s reference to timeless issues and concerns.
Among his other pieces, the exhibition includes significant and thought-provoking works such as a bed with porcelain heart-shaped electrical heating elements in place of a mattress, cast glass and iron ‘soul shoes,’ a neon figure in the shape of Leonardo Da Vinci’s Vitruvian man transforming himself into a tree, large cast glass diamond-shaped forms reflecting internal messaging, a cast resin body chair emanating meditative sounds of water and a 14-foot tall photographic image of a Paris gutter taken from the perspective of a rodent—a project Huebner undertook while living in Paris.
Having made a unique, historical contribution to Canadian and British Columbia arts, Huebner was posthumously recognized in 2014 by the British Columbia Arts Council with financial support to create the Ron Huebner Legacy Project and Archives, with a focus on fostering recognition of Huebner’s artistic legacy on a national and international level.